Tuesday, 05 February 2013

A WEDDING CAKE AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

Ken Berwitz

What do I do when two of my strongest-held beliefs, religious freedom and gay rights, collide?

Read these excerpts from an article at ewtnnews.com (a Catholic news service) and you'll see why I ask:

The Oregon state attorney general's office is investigating a Christian baker who declined to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Aaron Klein, owner of the Gresham, Ore. bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa, told The Oregonian newspaper he chose not to make the cake because he believes marriage is "a religious institution between a man and woman as stated in the Bible."

His business, which he co-owns with his wife, could face as much as $50,000 in fines if found guilty of violating the Oregon Equality Act. The law forbids businesses from denying "full and equal accommodations" for customers on the basis of sexual orientation and other protected categories.

The woman who filed the complaint against the bakery said Klein said she and her partner were "abominations to the Lord" and that their money was not equal to others. Klein denied making those statements.

"I apologized for wasting their time and said we don't do same-sex marriages," he told the ABC television affiliate KATU. "I honestly did not mean to hurt anybody, didn't mean to make anybody upset," he said.

Laura Bowman, whose partner filed the complaint, said her partner was "reduced to tears" when she heard the bakery would not bake the cake.

Klein said his bakery sells its pastries and cakes to all customers, but they turn down requests for cakes for same-sex ceremonies because of the owners' beliefs.

The bakery has crosses on the walls and has the New Testament passage John 3:16 on its website.

Let's start with an obvious, if frivolous, question:  how in the world did a religious Christian wind up with the name Aaron Klein?  That's a little like coming across a Rabbi named Christopher Palm-Sunday.

But, joking aside, there is a serious issue here.  Does a business owned by a devoutly religious couple have the right to refuse providing services which directly fly in the face of their beliefs?

To me, there is no doubt about the answer.  Of course it does.  

If the bakery refused to sell their everyday products to gay people, that would be wrong, and I would support legal redress against them.  But that is not what happened.  They refused to create a specific product which, to them, would condone a sinful act.  That is another story entirely.

Put another way, suppose a nazi sympathizer and his fiance came to a Jewish-owned bakery and asked for a wedding cake with a swastika on it.  Would you have any problem with the baker refusing such a request?  Suppose a White Supremacist came to a Black-owned bakery and asked for a cake with the word "nigger" on it.  Would you have any problem with that refusal?

See the point?  As much as we cherish freedom of speech, we recognize that it has outer limits.  You may feel that a same-sex wedding cake does not go beyond those limits, even if the baker is devoutly Christian.  But the baker begs to differ, and it is his privately owned bakery.  Freedom of speech goes both ways, not just one.

To Laura Bowman, and her partner who was "reduced to tears" by the refusal:   I am very happy for your union and wish you every happiness together.  But maybe it would be a good idea to stop crying, retract the complaint, and just go to another bake shop. 

Badda bing, badda boom.  Happy ending all around. 


WHAT ARE ILLEGAL ALIENS?

Ken Berwitz

Let me start by apologizing for the title.  The answer is pretty obvious.  An illegal alien is someone from another country (an alien) who did not come here legally (and therefore is illegal).  Illegal alien. There you go.

But not according to John Conyers, the 48 year congressperson from Detroit and ranking Democrat of the house judiciary committee.  To Rep. Conyers, the term should never be used. 

Why?  Well, here is his "reasoning":

"I hope no one uses the term illegal immigrants here today. Our citizens are not - the people in this country are not illegal. They are out of status. They are new Americans that are immigrants"

Huh?  Wha?

Uh, Representative Conyers.....they are not citizens.  Citizens have legal status.  They are here illegally.  They are not "new Americans".  They belong to another country.  They may currently be in our country, but our country is not their country.

Maybe a dictionary might help here.  According to merriam-webster.com:

illegal: not according to or authorized by law : unlawful, illicit;

alien: relating, belonging, or owing allegiance to another country or government : foreign

Got it, Mr. Conyers?  If a person is not here legally, and is a citizen of another country, that person is an illegal alien.  I L L E G A L  A L I E N.  Clear enough? 

And why are John Conyers and other Democrats doing this?  Why are they trying so hard to sanitize the perfectly correct, descriptive term "illegal alien" into something more palatable, more acceptable?

I cannot prove it, but it seems very clear that their grand plan is to secure some form of amnesty for these millions and millions of illegal aliens, turn them into voters (I wonder how many already vote illegally, don't you?) and reap the benefit of a huge new electoral bloc which, they assume, will cast their ballots for democrats.

That would be great for the Democrat Party, no question about it.

But how will it be for the people who will find themselves competing for jobs with them?  

A very large percentage of amnesty recipients will be Mexican blue-collar workers and their families.  They will be looking for jobs in agriculture, in construction, in the restaurant industry, on assembly lines, etc. 

And which group in the USA is most likely to be losing jobs to these former illegal ali...er, excuse me, these "new Americans"?

That is something Mr. Conyers, after almost half a century representing a predominantly Black constituency in a traditionally working-class city, apparently does not give a damn about. 

Zeke .......... Barack Obama is an Illegal Alien..... ....They should stuff him in his Flying Saucer and send him Back to Mars. . . . . .. (02/05/13)

BOB W good thinking- agreed and take Jackass Joe with him. (02/05/13)

BOB W I will be as usual very blunt, short and to the point. I would like to see anyone who agrues with what I say. I say if you are illegally in our country- get the F---- out in 30 days or you will be put on a retired old bttleship and spend the rest of your life at sea- floating around eating shit. you want to be in our great county, come in the right way-earn your citizenship and learn our laws and our language. (02/05/13)


THE QUOTE OF THE DAY

Ken Berwitz

Today's quote comes to us from Matt Lauer of the Today Show.  This is Mr. Lauer's reaction to the White House releasing a photograph of President Obama apparently shooting skeet:

"So like releasing the birth certificate a year or so ago, this is the next step, that now the President always has to back up his words with proof?"

Omigod.  OMIGOD!  "Y'mean  we're (gasp!) not supposed to just take President Obama's word for it?  What an outrage!  After all, when has Barack Obama ever said anything untrue?

Any doubt about why this is the quote of the day?  I didn't think so.

Now, on the off chance that Matt Lauer sometimes reads this blog, let me end with a quick note to him.

Dear Matt;

Since you mentioned the birth certificate President Obama released almost two years ago (not a year or so ago -- he released it on April 27, 2011), would you please remind us of which experts you had on the Today Show who looked it over and declared it authentic? 

Oh, wait.  Never mind.  I forgot.  You can't.  And the reason you can't is because you didn't have any such experts on the Today show. 

You didn't have even one expert get in front of the camera and say something like "I've examined this birth certificate and conclude that it is perfectly authentic.  I would stake my professional reputation on this.  Here is my explanation of why the countless tech people who are screaming it is an adobe illustrator-created concoction, and showing, step-by-step how it was created, are wrong"

Why do you suppose?


WHAT ARE ILLEGAL ALIENS?

Ken Berwitz

Let me start by apologizing for the title.  The answer is pretty obvious.  An illegal alien is someone from another country (an alien) who did not come here legally (and therefore is illegal).  Illegal alien. There you go.

But not according to John Conyers, the 48 year congressperson from Detroit and ranking Democrat of the house judiciary committee.  To Rep. Conyers, the term should never be used. 

Why?  Well, here is his "reasoning":

"I hope no one uses the term illegal immigrants here today. Our citizens are not - the people in this country are not illegal. They are out of status. They are new Americans that are immigrants"

Huh?  Wha?

Uh, Representative Conyers.....they are not citizens.  Citizens have legal status.  They are here illegally.  They are not "new Americans".  They belong to another country.  They may currently be in our country, but our country is not their country.

Maybe a dictionary might help here.  According to merriam-webster.com:

illegal: not according to or authorized by law : unlawful, illicit;

alien: relating, belonging, or owing allegiance to another country or government : foreign

Got it, Mr. Conyers?  If a person is not here legally, and is a citizen of another country, that person is an illegal alien.  I L L E G A L  A L I E N.  Clear enough? 

And why are John Conyers and other Democrats doing this?  Why are they trying so hard to sanitize the perfectly correct, descriptive term "illegal alien" into something more palatable, more acceptable?

I cannot prove it, but it seems very clear that their grand plan is to secure some form of amnesty for these millions and millions of illegal aliens, turn them into voters (I wonder how many already vote illegally, don't you?) and reap the benefit of a huge new electoral bloc which, they assume, will cast their ballots for democrats.

That would be great for the Democrat Party, no question about it.

But how will it be for the people who will find themselves competing for jobs with them?  

A very large percentage of amnesty recipients will be Mexican blue-collar workers and their families.  They will be looking for jobs in agriculture, in construction, in the restaurant industry, on assembly lines, etc. 

And which group in the USA is most likely to be losing jobs to these former illegal ali...er, excuse me, these "new Americans"?

That is something Mr. Conyers, after almost half a century representing a predominantly Black constituency in a traditionally working-class city, apparently does not give a damn about. 

BOB W I will be as usual very blunt, short and to the point. I would like to see anyone who agrues with what I say. I say if you are illegally in our country- get the F---- out in 30 days or you will be put on a retired old bttleship and spend the rest of your life at sea- floating around eating shit. you want to be in our great county, come in the right way-earn your citizenship and learn our laws and our language. (02/05/13)

Zeke .......... Barack Obama is an Illegal Alien..... ....They should stuff him in his Flying Saucer and send him Back to Mars. . . . . .. (02/05/13)

BOB W good thinking- agreed and take Jackass Joe with him. (02/05/13)


THE QUOTE OF THE DAY

Ken Berwitz

Today's quote comes to us from Matt Lauer of the Today Show.  This is Mr. Lauer's reaction to the White House releasing a photograph of President Obama apparently shooting skeet:

"So like releasing the birth certificate a year or so ago, this is the next step, that now the President always has to back up his words with proof?"

Omigod.  OMIGOD!  "Y'mean  we're (gasp!) not supposed to just take President Obama's word for it?  What an outrage!  After all, when has Barack Obama ever said anything untrue?

Any doubt about why this is the quote of the day?  I didn't think so.

Now, on the off chance that Matt Lauer sometimes reads this blog, let me end with a quick note to him.

Dear Matt;

Since you mentioned the birth certificate President Obama released almost two years ago (not a year or so ago -- he released it on April 27, 2011), would you please remind us of which experts you had on the Today Show who looked it over and declared it authentic? 

Oh, wait.  Never mind.  I forgot.  You can't.  And the reason you can't is because you didn't have any such experts on the Today show. 

You didn't have even one expert get in front of the camera and say something like "I've examined this birth certificate and conclude that it is perfectly authentic.  I would stake my professional reputation on this.  Here is my explanation of why the countless tech people who are screaming it is an adobe illustrator-created concoction, and showing, step-by-step how it was created, are wrong"

Why do you suppose?


THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S DRONE ATTACK POLICY

Ken Berwitz

NBC News (amazingly enough) has uncovered a secret Obama administration memo, which would allow drone attacks to kill US Citizens, without specific proof that they are directly engaging in actions against the United States.

Excerpted from Michael Isikoff's investigative report:

A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be "senior operational leaders" of al-Qaida or "an associated force" -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.

The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration's most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens, such as the  September 2011 strike in Yemen that killed alleged al-Qaida operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were U.S. citizens who had never been indicted by the U.S. government nor charged with any crimes.  

The secrecy surrounding such strikes is fast emerging as a central issue in this week's hearing of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, a key architect of the drone campaign, to be CIA director.  Brennan was the first administration official to publicly acknowledge drone strikes in a speech last year, calling them "consistent with the inherent right of self-defense." In a separate talk at the Northwestern University Law School in March, Attorney General Eric Holder specifically endorsed the constitutionality of targeted killings of Americans, saying they could be justified if government officials determine the target poses  "an imminent threat of violent attack."

Interesting, wouldn't you say?

Now, a few questions:

- Do you have a problem with this memo?  (I can't say that I do);

- Does the left wing contingent, so instrumental in re-electing Barack Obama, have a problem with this memo?  (I'm betting that they do, and you will hear about it very quickly);

- Just what do you think the media reaction would have been if this memo were uncovered during the Bush administration? (Think mass hysteria).

Stay tuned, folks.  This is just getting started.  And, to paraphrase Bette Davis, strap on your seatbelts; it's going to be a bumpy ride.


BENGHAZI: WHO IS LYING? IS ANYONE NOT LYING?

Ken Berwitz

Is is now almost 5 months since the deadly attack on our facility in Benghazi, Libya.

And, still, not only are there no answers, but different members of this administration are telling us different stories about it. 

Someone is lying.  Maybe they all are. 

Excerpted from Terrence Jeffrey's article at cnsnews.com:

On CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, Dempsey said the reason the Defense Department sent no aid to the Americans under attack by terrorists in Benghazi on the night of Sept. 11-12, was because the attack did not last seven hours but was really two 20-minute attacks six hours apart.

However, both a CIA timeline provided last fall by a senior U.S. intelligence official and the report published by the State Department ARB, published in December, contradict Gen. Dempsey's claim that the Benghazi terrorist attack was two discrete 20-minute battles separated by six hours.

Additionally, an account presented by the Senate Homeland Security Committee in its report on Benghazi also does not comport with General Dempsey's version of events.

 Is Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs lying to us?  Is he ignorant of what we know about Benghazi?  Both?

Or are the CIA and Homeland security people lying to us?  Ignorant of what we know about Benghazi?  Both?

Please note that I am not asking about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who ducked hearings on this murderous terrorist attack for months, and then showed up to bang her hand on a table and demand that we stop concerning ourselves with what happened all that time ago (her exact words?  "What's the difference?"). 

Yep, that's right Hillary.  Nobody cares why the attack took place, who attacked us, why there was such low security on September 11th, why forces were not sent in while it was happening or why the Libyan forces stood by as spectators and allowed it to happen.

The fact that an adoring media celebrates Hillary Clinton for despicable, amoral, dishonest garbage like this turns my stomach.

It is clear that we are being lied to now - every bit as much as when the President lied to us for weeks by claiming the attack was caused by a nondescript video no one ever heard of...and then lied to us again by claiming he didn't lie about the video in the first place.

Call me a cynic.  But, in my mind, the more lies we are told about Benghazi, the more apparent it is that what really happened is being withheld from us - and that what really happened is even worse than the horror show we are already aware of.

When do our media care enough to investigate this?  The day after Barack Obama leaves office?

Would they have held back this long if the President's name were Bush?

Zeke ... .... Mrs. Rodham is entirely correct, "What does it matter?" .... .... ... Irregardless (as they say Inside the Beltway), ... the government will continue to piss on your leg and then tell you it's raining .... .... ... .... (02/05/13)


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